Day 76 | Coming Out of Survival Mode

May 24, 2017

Last night I had a panic attack. Today I was really stressed, anxious, sad and even angry. I cried a lot. The last three days have been significantly harder days. I guess life isn’t going to become magically easy now that we have the van.

That’s not to say life isn’t easier, it’s definitely easier. That’s part of the problem. We’re not in survival mode anymore and coming out of survival mode means facing the overwhelming task of rebuilding a stable life out of this crazy mess.

Will we ever find a place where we can camp long term? Will we ever get into a good rhythm where Brett can actually work consistently so we can be financially stable? Where we never run out of clean laundry? Where we can cook healthy meals every day and don’t have to live on almond flour crackers and grass-fed beef sticks anymore?

Not to mention, transitioning away from survival mode also opens the door to grief. I know this from past experiences. The grief doesn’t usually take over until there’s a break in the intensity of the circumstances. Frankly, this terrifies me. The pile of unprocessed suffering and loss in my life is as tall as a mountain. I’m not sure I really want to face it.

Sara Mattson, my mold avoidance mentor, also reminded me that getting the van means that now I’m sleeping in a really pristine bed. Which, based on the experience of other mold avoiders, probably means that my body is going to be ramping up its detoxification rate again. That might explain the mood swings, the brain fog, and why I’m not feeling so wonderful in the van. I’m probably spewing toxins all over it.

It really comforted me to be reminded of that. Maybe this is just my body continuing to do good healing work. We just need to stay on top of wiping the van down and airing it out as much as possible. It’s all going to be okay. Ups and downs are a natural part of this journey.

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  • Natalie Julson

    Praying for you Ana

    June 3, 2017 at 9:57 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Thank you so much Natalie!

      June 3, 2017 at 5:09 pm Reply
  • ashley nicole

    Being overwhelmed and having mood swings can be hard to deal with but I know with God’s help you can pull through everything that’s being thrown at you! Praying for you Ana!

    June 3, 2017 at 10:35 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Thank you so much for the prayers and kind thoughts, Ashely Nicole!

      June 3, 2017 at 5:10 pm Reply
  • Michelle

    I love the definition Esther Smith gives grief in her book When Chronic Pain and Illness Take Everything Away. “Grief is the process by which we actively release all that we feel, question and remember at the feet of God and people he has placed in our lives.” Praying that as you open yourself to this process of grieving all that has been lost that you will find great comfort and healing for your heart. I can only imagine that you will find yourself repeating this process time and time again even as you experience great joy with more and more relief from the pain and isolation you have experienced. I find Esther’s thoughts on intentional grieving to be fascinating and am typing this as we drive to church with a copy for your Mom. Would love to send you a copy as well..Not sure how books fall in the mold avoidance category would an audible form be better then a book? Much love from afar by those who know you mostly from your writing but love you just the same.

    June 4, 2017 at 6:09 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… This is so sweet! Thank you so much Michelle for your kind words and continuing prayers. It means a lot! That sounds like a really perfect book! Thanks for sharing the quote with me. So good… Unfortunately paper is a “no-no” right now but an audible version would be wonderful. Hugs! 💕

      June 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm Reply
  • Chris

    Ana, I can only imagine the way you must be feeling. And yes, your right, there is going to be grief that needs to be processed. After all you’ve been through and all you’ve lost these past few years. I think you’ll need to allow yourself the time, and give yourself grace to not be completely “normal” (whatever that is right? Patsy Clairmont says that “normal is just a setting on your dryer!” LOL). So just give yourself grace to just “be” in the present. In the moment. At whatever time you’re in. God will provide grace for that moment! And that moment alone. May I also recommend some books? “The Source of My Strength: Relying On The Life-Changing Power of Jesus Christ to Heal Our Wounded Hearts” by Charles Stanley. Especially the chapter on fear. That would be a good one for you. I loved this book. So very, very good! Just like the person above, I can have a new copy of this book sent to you. Or you can probably get it on your phone. Also the book, “A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss” by Gerald Sittser. This book is so popular among those who have suffered loss of any kind. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m sure you will relate to many parts of it. Just read the reviews on Amazon. Again, I would send you any of these if you like. I am going to pray really hard again for you tonight. (You’re beginning to feel like one of my own daughters! So forgive me if I’m mothering you too much.) Love you guys!! XOXO

    June 4, 2017 at 7:38 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… Thank you so much Chris! I think you’re definitely right about giving myself time and not feeling like I have to be normal immediately. Thinking of it that way definitely takes a weight off of my shoulders. (Haha! I also like the quote about normal being a setting on your dryer! Too funny!)

      Thank you also for the book recommendations. I appreciate it! It’s best not to have things made of paper for now so I can probably get them on my phone’s kindle app. 💕

      June 5, 2017 at 2:53 pm Reply
  • Ruth Meyer

    Ana, I’ve been through delayed grief many times in the last few years. Intense health problems, mixed with traumatic incidents, and sudden losses, leaving college without finishing my senior year (too sick, and not enough $ because I couldn’t work a job), and some unexpected changes/situations with family, it all just piled up really fast. I couldn’t process anything after a while. I went to a few memorial services even, and couldn’t cry, because I just couldn’t process any more emotional/physical/mental strain. My body shut down, and I felt like I was shutting down as a person. For a super social, peace-maker, and want-to-be-helpful person, this killed me inside. I hated feeling like I was making everyone feel worse, and that only drove me deeper down the hole of fear and suppressed emotions… I had a lot of nightmares in that time that I never thought I would be able to get over. But, the good news is, I have! I am! It’s been a long, tear-strewn road of recovery, but I’m on the upward trail! 😀 And, so are you. Tears are a good thing, trust me. They don’t feel like it at the time, but it’s way better to have crying for a night, even bawling, if it means you can feel the sun on your shoulders the next morning! God’s grace and the loving compassionate, faithful support of my family and friends are the reason I am who I am today and still walking one step at a time. Praying for you, Ana. You are not alone, just walking side-by-side with everyone who has walked that tear-strewn road before you. One day, someone else will walk that road, and know they walk in your footsteps. That’s a good thing! You’re inspiring others to hope, even as you find your own hope daily. God bless you and Brett, Ana.

    June 5, 2017 at 8:12 am Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Oh sister! I can so relate! Especially the part about shutting down as a person. I pretty much lost touch with my personality. I’m so sorry you’ve been through this too but it’s encouraging to hear that things are looking up now. It feels so overwhelming but I know I need to let the tears come and start the process. Thanks for sharing your story and your beautiful words of encouragement. God bless you. I pray the healing only continues for you.

      June 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm Reply
  • Tamam Baida

    Ana, I’m praying … may you be graced with the peace of Christ in your heart and in your mind. [If anyone can empathize re: panic attacks due to anxiety…I’m your soul mate in this regard! Then, I need to remind myself to take “day by day”… and sometimes, “hour by hour”.] My heart goes out to you and I realize how overwhelming it must be to deal with all those emotions and stress in addition to your and Brett’s concerns…financial and otherwise. HOWEVER, you are such an inspiration to so many folks, Ana…try to keep this in mind. This doesn’t mean you need to appear to be all together at all times….not possible….and I believe that’s why you inspire me so….your honesty about the really difficult days. Hang in there, kiddo…[You’re familiar with Murphy’s Law, right?…Well, Murphy refuses to leave here in spite of numerous requests for him to do so. Lots of ‘stuff’ not working or in need of repair or myself in need of repair! Murphy likes it here and just can’t seem to take a hint about overstaying his visit. Please pray that Murphy will leave. Thanks, Ana, with much love, tamam ]

    June 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… Thank you so much Tamam! This is really encouraging! I love you! I’m praying Murphy will leave you alone. 😉❤️

      June 5, 2017 at 3:04 pm Reply
  • Ana Harris

    Aww… Thank you so much Tamam! This is really encouraging! I love you! I’m praying Murphy will leave you alone. 😉❤️

    June 5, 2017 at 3:04 pm Reply
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